Drew Brees responds to Trump criticism: ‘This is not an issue about the American flag’

'We as a white community need to listen and learn from the pain and suffering of our black communities,' Drew Brees says

New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees (left) and President Donald Trump (right)

Just two days after Drew Brees infuriated the masses when he said he would never support kneeling during the national anthem at football games, the NFL quarterback is offering a mea culpa and schooling President Donald Trump on the #TakeaKnee movement.

The New Orleans Saints superstar issued an apology on Thursday after his Wednesday remarks drew major backlash from the Twittersphere and prompted prominent figures like LeBron James to speak out. Simultaneously, Brees is encouraging POTUS to listen to what protesters are saying.

The QB did an about-face and apologized for the “insensitive” comments.

“They lacked awareness and any type of compassion or empathy. Instead, those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that, somehow, I am an enemy,” Brees said. “This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character.”

READ MORE: Saints’ Drew Brees blasted after saying he’ll never agree to anthem protests

When the commander in chief caught wind of the mea culpa, he took to Twitter to chastise the Saints star for the apology. Trump said Brees should have stood his ground “honoring our magnificent American flag” adding that people can protest, “but not our Great America Flag – NO KNEELING!”

Brees doubled down on his newfound wokeness when he responded to Trump’s comments on Friday evening in a post titled “To President Trump.”

“Through my ongoing conversations with friends, teammates, and leaders in the black community, I realize this is not an issue about the American flag. It has never been,” Brees wrote on Instagram. “We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities.

“We did this back in 2017, and regretfully I brought it back with my comments this week,” he continued. “We must stop talking about the flag and shift our attention to the real issues of systemic racial injustice, economic oppression, police brutality, and judicial & prison reform. We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s history! If not now, then when?

“We as a white community need to listen and learn from the pain and suffering of our black communities. We must acknowledge the problems, identify the solutions, and then put this into action. The black community cannot do it alone. This will require all of us.”

The back and forth between the president and quarterback stems from NFL free agent Colin Kaepernick’s decision to take a stance against police misconduct and social justice in a peaceful way that proved controversial. In his last season as a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, Kaepernick took a knee during the national anthem at every 49ers game in the 2016 season.

Colin Kaepernick theGrio.com

RIVERDALE, GA – NOVEMBER 16: Colin Kaepernick looks to make a pass during a private NFL workout held at Charles R Drew high school on November 16, 2019 in Riverdale, Georgia. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)

Some athletes, from amateur to professional leagues, joined Kaepernick in support, while others denounced his actions. The protest kneel came in the wake of the police shootings of two Black men, Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma and Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina.

READ MORE: Ex- NFL exec admits Colin Kaepernick’s career ended because of activism

The most recent police killing of a Black man, George Floyd, in particular, has sparked nationwide protests and revived conversations about Kaepernick’s national anthem protests. Kaepernick’s actions drew the ire of both the NFL and Trump, who urged NFL owners to kick protesting players off the team.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, say, “Get that son of a b—- off the field right now. Out, you’re fired!'” Trump said in referring to Kaepernick’s actions without calling him by name.

Brees, however, is not the only one grabbing headlines for finally accepting the underlying purpose of the anthem protests. The NFL, who for years denounced the apparent war Kaepernick was raging, has also reversed course.

Commissioner Roger Goodell on Friday said “we were wrong for not listening to players” and that the league stands with its African-American players.

“We, the National Football League, admit we were wrong for not listening to players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest,” he said in the statement. “We, the National Football League, believe Black lives matter. I personally protest with you and want to be part of the much-needed change in this country.”

Meanwhile, Kaepernick is still without a job in the NFL, despite being years ahead of the curve.